Woke up this morning feeling real good. Don’t know why and don’t want to ask, I just do. Most mornings I wake up in a grumpy fog, stumbing around until I’ve had a couple of cups of Joe, and even then it takes a while to come back to my normal happy-go-lucky self. I walk to the corner for newspapers to peruse over breakfast, always starting with the back of the paper, the Sports Section. The main part of the paper with its bad news and fear-mongering can wait until after I’ve had my coffee. I think it’s safe to say that I’m not generally what you call a morning person.

I’m a nerd for baseball box scores and the like. When baseball’s on hiatus for 5 months I make do with with football and basketball results and the occasional boxing story. Hockey is for others, not me. Ditto soccer and golf. I usually wake up an hour or two before the lovely wife Louise, who requires more Z’s than I do, so my mornings are usually solitary affairs. I rarely have to be anywhere so early since most of my work is at night so I can relax and slowly de-grump myself to the point where I can stand to read the news of the day. Today I think I’ll put that duty off for a while since I’m feeling too damned good to read about the latest idiotic blunders of our blockhead government, the foibles of drug-addled celebrities, senseless murders, plane crashes, disasters natural and otherwise or the prospect of paying even more taxes.

Later for all that. I’d like to ruminate on what’s right with the world, and there’s plenty. Take today’s weather, for example; warm, but not too hot, sunny and low humidity. Perfect for the barbecue we’re having later on. Joining us will be my wonderful mother Mary, my handsome sons Rob and Mike with their lovely wives Lydia and Maria, my cousin Ray and perhaps his brothers Joe and Jim and their ladies. Maybe a neighbor or two as well. I’m hoping my in-laws stop by too, Louise’s parents Mike and Lena, a couple of good eggs who provided me with my lovely spouse. The more the merrier. I always cook too much anyway so unexpected drop-ins are more than welcome.

I’ve been very lucky in this life to be blessed with so may good people around me, every one of them unique and interesting. Lydia is from Austria, came here as an adventurous teenager and stayed when Rob romanced and married her. Smart move on his part. She’s a tall beauty with a zest for life like few you”ll meet in this world. She’s shown Rob her native land and other parts of Europe. He’s returning the favor by taking her to the West Coast for a couple of weeks since she’s eager to see more of America. Mike’s wife Maria is a dark-haired Italian American sweetheart, and a brain to boot, being a VP in one of the great financial houses on Wall Street. Her family is from Italy and she’s the only one of three sisters born in The USA.

My mom, Mary Crespo, is a very interesting lady and and kind and wise and smart as they come. She has many talents aside from her gift of making everyone who has been in her company feel at ease and better about themselves. She’ a talented oil painter who has not let arthritis put a stop to her creative drive. She can’t play guitar and piano anymore but can still paint. She also builds incredible dollhouses and tiny furniture, complete with tiny working hinges the size of a fingernail clipping. She’s also a world class Scrabble player and taught me to love hard crossword puzzles and to love reading, among countless other valuable lesons. I thank her always for the gift of optimism and my capacity for feeling happiness and hope to attain some measure of her patience someday. I still learn from my mother.

The Crespo cousins I’m referring to (I have twenty-three first cousins) are real beauts too. We are actually double cousins since their mother is my mother’ youngest sister and their father is my father’s youngest brother. They’re all artists. The eldest, Carol Crespo is a drama graduate of NYU and produces videos with her husband Lee Harris, the morning voice of 1010 WINS, the  most listened to news radio station on the planet. Their company Harris Media makes all sorts of corporate and inspirational videos. Her Brothers Jim, Ray and Joe are all excellent musicians.

Jim is a super-tralented guitarist who made me the second-best guitar player in the family, the rat. Ray is a drummer and a fine singer and is also in possession of one of the greatest personalities you’re likely to run across. He has a good time wherever he goes because he takes the good times with him. Joe is a fantastic bassplayer and songwriter with the up-and-coming band Hello Nurse (visit their website hellonurse.com). I like to think that I as an elder cousin and the first musician in the family that I had something to do with them taking up their instruments. I can’t hog any credit for their talent though, much as I’d like to. Same with my son Mike. I taught him how to play guitar and how to siing but he did his own thing with them, sounding like no one else but himself. I told them all to learn from the best but to imitate nobody. If you sound exactly like so-and so, what’s the point? People will always prefer the original so-and-so to any imitation, however accurate.

And one thing we Crespos are is a bunch of characters. When this crew gets together we have a ball, no matter where we are or what is the occasion. We sure have some laughts and plenty of fun. Too bad my sister Nancee can’t be here today. She’s just arriving from Barcelona with her husband Nick and my very special and beautiful nieces Lauren and Suzanne and their body clocks are al out of whack. She loves our family desperately and throws some great bashes for us at her house in New Jersey. And speaking of talent, she’s got a ton. Nancee Brown is one of the finest interior decorators in the country. Don’t believe me? Visit nanceebrown.com and feast your eyes.

So I started out to write a column about feeling good and all the good things in this world and wound up bragging about my family. Perhaps not my most meaning blog, but hey, what can I say? These are some of the things that make me happy, having my people around me and being one of their people. I didn’t even mention my maniac braniac older brother John who lives in Florida or semi-recluse sister Beth from Colorado who toils in the R&D department of a giant computer firm inventing stuff or my Webmaster son Rob who runs this little dog and pony act for me. I guess I did the written version of whipping out the old snapshots for you, but every word is the God’s honest. You can always scroll down the page to read my other blogs if you like. Today is a gorgeous Summer Sunday and my clan is coming over and I’m feeding them. I feel good, very good indeed.

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